Let’s face it. Photographers love their Flash sites. Bludomain, Photoidentities, Photobiz, Bigfolio, etc., etc. Even the DWF homepage as shown above uses flash!
But these days, mobile devices are becoming more and more prevalent. While the majority of visitors to photographers websites are still from laptops and desktops, a small, but growing number of visitors are coming from mobile devices.
One of the most common of these devices is the iPhone. And with the iPad due to come out in the next 60 days, photographers need to look long and hard at their Flash-based website.
Because the iPhone doesn’t do Flash. And the iPad? Well, nobody is quite sure, but there is evidence pointing to the fact that it won’t run flash, either. (It should be noted, though, that Safari has a new web content plug-in mechanism for Safari, starting in Snow Leopard, that allows plug ins to run as their own process, meaning that if they crash, they don’t crash Safari, but display that broken rectangle pictured above. So all this hand wringing could be over a crashed plug-in. Or not. But let’s return to the hand wringing.)
Adrian Ludwig, over at the Adobe Flash Blog, says that without Flash, iPad users “will not be able to access the full range of web content, including over 70% of games and 75% of video on the web.”
As a user, you can chose to take sides. You can side with the folks who say that Flash needs to die, or you can join in with the people who are suing Apple because it looked like Flash would work on the iPad, but it doesn’t appear to. Love it, hate it, take it or leave it, you as a user can form your own opinion.
But as a business owner, you need to think carefully about every barrier to entry you place before people. Sure, right now less than 3% of the visitors to photographer websites are browsing from an iPhone (according to a very informal straw poll), but can you really afford to deny anyone access to what—if you are like most photographers—is your primary marketting tool?
If so, at what point does that number become statistically significant? 5%? 10%? At what point in time do you say “I can’t afford to block these people anymore?”
Alex Lindsay, head honcho at the Pixel Corps, relates the story of the CEO who, upon getting the first iPhone, browsed to his company’s website, only to find a broken link.
He took the iPhone to the IT department, and told them to fix the website so it worked. The fix was to remove Flash.
Note that this isn’t an all-or-nothing choice. There are options. Many sites have an html version, or smart switching to detect which browser a visitor is using. And Flash, despite it’s problems, still does things that can’t be done otherwise (at least until HTML 5….). But you need to look at how people are trying to find you, and then be there waiting for them.
Because if you aren’t, someone else will be.Back Home